Design and Integration of a Telerobotic System for Minimally Invasive Surgery of the Throat

Nabil Simaan, Kai Xu, Wei Wei, Ankur Kapoor, Peter Kazanzides, Russell Taylor, Paul Flint

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

333 Scopus citations


In this paper we present the clinical motivation, design specifications, kinematics, statics, and actuation compensation for a newly constructed telerobotic system for Minimally Invasive Surgery (MIS) of the throat. A hybrid dual-arm telesurgical slave, with 20 joint-space Degrees-of-Freedom (DoFs), is used in this telerobotic system to provide the necessary dexterity in deep surgical fields such as the throat. The telerobotic slave uses novel continuum robots that use multiple super-elastic backbones for actuation and structural integrity. We present the kinematics of the telesurgical slave and methods for actuation compensation to cancel the effects of backlash, friction, and flexibility of the actuation lines. A method for actuation compensation is presented in order to overcome uncertainties of modeling, friction, and backlash. This method uses a tiered hierarchy of two novel approaches of actuation compensation for remotely actuated snake-like robots. The tiered approach for actuation compensation uses compensation in both joint space and configuration space of the continuum robots. These hybrid actuation compensation schemes use intrinsic model information and external data through a recursive linear estimation algorithm and involve compensation using configuration space and joint space variables. Experimental results validate the ability of our integrated telemanipulation system through experiments of suturing and knot tying in confined spaces.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1134-1153
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Robotics Research
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Continuum robots
  • Dexterity enhancement
  • Redundancy resolution
  • Suturing
  • Telemanipulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Applied Mathematics


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